Well. Genesis is finished. Today’s reading came from Chapters 48-50. Exodus is up next in the chronology, but that’s tomorrow.
“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?”
That’s a beautiful statement of love. Joseph’s brothers feared revenge from their younger sibling for all the evil they had caused him in his youth. They came and begged forgiveness for the transgressions they had committed against Joseph. But Joseph replied with an amazing question, “Am I in the place of God?”
It is God’s place to judge evil in this world, not us. Joseph’s recognised this. Furthermore, his response was the complete opposite – he comforted his brothers and assured them that he would continue to provide for them and their families. This act of love seems impossible. But then we turn our attention to what Joseph says in between. He appeals to the sovereign grace of God in assuring his brothers – “do not fear”. Joseph acknowledged that all that had taken place had been ordained by God, that in His grace, God had paved the way forward for His people and used evil for good. The grace of God was sufficient for Joseph’s sense of justice, freeing him to love unconditionally.
The parallels with our world today are striking. There are some truths that are just timeless. When confronted with evil, we should not judge, we should not take revenge, but we should love. “Love your enemies” was one of Jesus’ commands. It’s impossible to do this, aside from the grace of God. As Joseph appealed to it, so we appeal to it today. The grace of God is sufficient to satisfy our needs, and the wrath of God will satisfy the need for judgment.
What is more beautiful today than in the time of Joseph is that both the grace of God and the wrath of God have met in a single place, on the cross of Jesus Christ, where the wrath of God was spent, and the grace of God became available to us.